We all heard about power tending to corrupt and Lord Acton’s dictum, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”. I’d written a blog about it earlier this year (February 5, 2013). Perhaps, there is one exception—the President of Uruguay? On the other hand, we all know which country is the most powerful in the world and, if we can trust Lord Acton’s reasoning often repeated by both president Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, we can draw our own conclusions, which country is, per force, the most corrupt.
Here, however, we are not concerned with corruption. Here we are concerned with the diametrically diverse forces pulling in opposite directions. In my essay (Beyond Religion I) I reached the conclusion that power is the opposite of love. Love is, or at least is detectable only among individuals, while governments are elected to wield power. Those heading the governments erase the concept of ‘love’ from the equation of their administration in order to ‘protect’ their citizens (read, “big business”). One never hears the word love in any speeches, or legislation. And yet “we the people”, keep electing governments. Allow me to quote a great English-American, Thomas Paine (1737–1809). Some centuries ago he proclaimed that:
Society in every state is a blessing,
but government in its best state is but a necessary evil,
in its worst state, an intolerable one.
Could it be that Paine detected a conspicuous absence of love in the government’s behaviour? Imagine governments whose actions are motivated by love towards their citizen, let alone towards their purported enemies. They could call themselves Christians then. Yet nothing is as absent from government policies, let alone their power base—the military, as love.
“What does love have to do with governance?” they’d ask.
In government, love is a dirty world.
“We look after our citizens’ bodies, not their souls. Souls are the business to TV preachers or other proselytizers. We just kill our enemies. Fast. Preferably using machines that don’t give us any stupid posttraumatic disorders after wholesale murder. And most certainly, before they can kill us…”
“…we call it prophylactic killing. Killing just in case. You can love your enemies all you want. We have the power to kill them. It’s just collateral damage. We don’t mean them any harm…”
“…government in its best state is but a necessary evil,
in its worst state, an intolerable one.”
Thank you Mr. Paine. We need more people like you around: in America, and Europe, and in other centers of power. Just to restore sanity. Until we do, I’ll repeat to all who care to listen that Power Is The Opposite Of Love. And absolute power is the opposite of Divine Love.
You can find other essays in similar vein in my Beyond Religion Series. I did my best NOT to be preachy, just to share some thoughts. There are 3 volumes of 50 essays each. One per day. Enjoy.
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